ATS Message Handling System (AMHS)

The major part of data message interchange in the AFS is performed by the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network, (AFTN) an international network spanning the whole globe.

Today, most ground based information with respect to national and international aviation operations is exchanged via ICAO administered AFTN. Several hundred nodes located virtually in every country of the world exchange messages containing Flight Plans, NOTAM, and Meteorological Data.

Due to the outdated technology and the limited capabilities of AFTN/CIDIN, ATS Message Handling System (AMHS) was the next system introduced by ICAO for ground-ground messaging in the early 2000s. AMHS will replace the character oriented AFTN protocol with a modern Message Handling System based on international Standards such as ISO/IEC 10021 and ITU-T X.400. The AMHS uses IP or ATN as a transport network and can carry bit oriented data required by modern ground-ground aeronautical data applications.

For further information please consult AMC

Main deliverables

So far, EUROCONTROL is an active participant to the ICAO EANPG and contributory bodies and made a significant contribution to the development, implementation and operation of AFTN/CIDIN/AMHS, including:  

  • Supported  development of ICAO ATN/AMHS SARPs from 1994 to 2002
  • Together with 4 other ANSPs developed SPACE Study on AMHS Implementation Planning in 2002
  • Developed AFTN/AMHS Gateway (ECG) in 2003
  • Implemented two AMHS common facilities, i.e: ATS Messaging Management Centre (AMC), Pan European Network Service (PENS)
  • Developed AMHS Community Specifications in October 2009
  • Developed ATS Messaging Management Manual (ICAO EUR doc 21) in 2007
  • Supported development of EUR/AMHS Manual (ICAO EUR doc 20)
  • Developed Operational Concept for European Directory Service (EDS) in 2011.
  • Validate EDS Operational Concept


The deployment of the AMHS has been started in all ICAO Regions, and EUROCONTROL currently playing an essential role for implementation of AMHS in the EUR/NAT Regions.

The ATS Messaging Management Centre developed and implemented by Eurocontrol on behalf of ICAO has been providing off-line network management service since 2007 to the European segment of global AFTN/CIDIN/AMHS.

Following the request from ICAO AFSG, EUROCONTROL completed development of an operational concept for EDS based on AMHS Community Specifications. The document was approved by the AFSG in 2012 and decided to be included in the EUR/AMHS Manual.

EUROCONTROL is currently working on validation and implementation of  EDS Step 1 at EUROCONTROL. It is planned, the concept will be validated and the EDS will be integrated in the AMC before the end of 2014. The following work will be carried out in the coming years:

  • Continuation of AMC Service (continuous)
  • Validation of European Directory Service on PENS SESAR Backbone (ends by 2nd half of 2014)
  • Integration of European Directory Service into AMC (ends by 4Q of 2014)
  • Coordination of deployment of AMHS in the EUR/NAT Regions together with the ICAO AFSG (expected to last 5 yrs)


Mr Yuksel Eyuboglu

AMC Project Manager - DNM/COO/DCO/CFC

Phone: +32 2 729 3379